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2013-9-30 Office décor. Edited with G+ Edit & ipiccy, CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

Photo: Office décor. Leppävaara, Espoo, Finland 30.9.2013
(Edited with G+ Edit & ipiccy,
CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

First hand experience

I can’t say about what other people would do, but here’s some first hand experience from few months ago.

My contract at the Career Services was terminated last October after 15 years of service as the result of general co-operation negotiations in the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

Openness: theory and practice

I had been pondering a good deal about privacy issues when entering the social media sphere – both on personal and professional level.

I had also got familiar with the idea of openness as a part of work processes, as a way to achieve enriching encounters with colleagues and beyond.

I had fallen in love with concepts like serendipity, iterative processes and agile development.

The only way I could think of handling the pink slip, was to tell openly about the situation and hope it leads to new openings.

Walk the talk – online and in real life

Pretty soon after I got the news that I won’t be needed at the workplace anymore, I started to inform all relevant parties both online and in real life. Below is quite a long list – I wonder if I’ve still forgotten something.

On duty

  • social media
    • Facebook
    • Google+
    • Twitter
    • xTune
    • Yammer: Metropolia, Finnish Universities and a project network
  • other
    • colleagues on phone and face to face
    • automatic replies to email: personal & team 
    • emails to network connections: Finnish Career Services Network, steering group of the nationwide 
    • removing eg my name and contact info from the company website – sort of negative informing

Off duty


I got a heart warming amount of kindness, support and job tips after I came out with my situation.

Can’t say it’s all due to my openness, but in less than two months I was back at work.

Funnily enough, I got a 10 months fixed term contract from my former employer as a Programme Coordinator for the Faculty of Welfare and Human Functioning.



Metropolia: Career Services
Metropolia: Faculty of Welfare & Human Functioning


Statistics on Google url shortener

Happy crowd. Ehrenströmintie, Kaivopuisto, Helsinki, Finland 13.7.2013 (Edited with Picasa's Creative Kit: Cropping, Holga-ish & watermark, CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

Happy crowd. Ehrenströmintie, Kaivopuisto, Helsinki, Finland 13.7.2013
(Edited with Picasa’s Creative Kit: Cropping, Holga-ish & watermark, CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

Idea and will take a long way

It’s great to see, how social media makes various things so easy to do. You just need one person, who’s got an idea and willingness to make things happen. Good network of contacts helps, of course.

Photowalk Helsinki – international crowd

I attended a photowalk in Helsinki on 13.7.2013. It was advertised mainly in Facebook and Google+ (events feature). The idea had come from Thomas Paris and taken up by Heli Vilmi, who acted as a host. Anyone was welcomed: no matter if you were a hobby, amateur semi-professional or professional photographer. Among us hobbyists there were eg Jussi Aalto and Mikko Lagerstedt (more names in the end).

Almost 30 people signed up for the photowalk. Since not everybody showed up, about 20 photo enthusiasts gathered by the Helsinki railway station at 1 pm on the sunny Saturday. We were a multicultural crowd, participants had roots in at least following countries:

  • Finland (15 persons)
  • France
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • UK
  • USA

We walked, talked, took photos and stopped for refreshments. By every stop one or more left because of other obligations, but at least one joined on the way. The last ones had the chance to enjoye the hospitality of Octavian Balea at his studio late in the evening.

Future photo events

The organizer can steer the nature of the photowalk by the wording of the invitation and where the event is promoted. Ultimately the event gets formed by the participants.

One idea that came up in Photowalk Helsinki was, that some future event might be more focused on discussing photographs, than taking them. A group could go to an exhibition together or arrange a session to screen each others’ photos. Online there have been various photocritique sessions using the “hangout” feature in Google+.

I hope there will be more photowalks in Finland in future in one form or the other. Taking part in photowalks abroad is of course an option, too!



Facebook, event: Photowalk Helsinki
Google+, event: Photowalk Helsinki

Heli Vilmi (website)
Thomas Paris (500px profile)

Jussi Aalto (blog)
Mikko Lagerstedt (website)
Octavian Balea (blog)

Bret Pulkka-Stone (RedBubble profile)
Henrietta Hassinen (Society6 profile)
Ilkka Roitto (Flickr profile)
Kimmo Vornanen (500px profile)
Louis Handley (website)
Pauli Araneva (website)
Päivi Kahila (website)
Tarmo Pekola (website)

Tiina M Niskanen Photography (also Picasa Web Album: Photowalk Helsinki


Edit 23.7.2013: Statistics on Google url shortener

In the middle of April I noticed, that I suddenly started to get a lot of more new followers in Google+ than before: hundreds of new followers daily, when it used to be only tens. By the end of May the rush was over: in 1,5 months I had got about 11 000 new followers.

Photo 1. Google+ follower history of Tiina Niskanen on CircleCount on 30.6.2013

2013-06-30 CircleCount, TN, followers

Suggested user list

My question was and partly still is: what happened? I can mainly speculate the reasons to the sudden increase in my follower count, but it must have been something Google did, not me. During the upswing I didn’t change my online behaviour in any way.

I found some posts and comments in Google+ that pondered about changes in the “suggested user list” (SUL) and the algorithms behind it. It was also mentioned, that Google regards these things as trade secrets and is not discussing them in public.


At the moment I’m the 7th followed person in Finland in Google+ according to CircleCount – 3rd followed woman. Not all Google+ users are listed in the service, though. Also, I’d be 4th on the women’s list, if not one user had told Google+ her gender is “other”.  It’s easier to get to the Top 10 in a small country like Finland: in USA I would be first 1200. on the joint list and 376. on the women’s list.

I’m sure the situation will change soon – that’s why I wanted to document this now :)

Photo 2. Google+ ranking of Tiina Niskanen on CircleCount on 30.6.2013

2013-06-30 CircleCount, Tiina Niskanen

Edit 1: Photo 2 and related links added.
Edit 2: Subheadings added.



CircleCount: Follower map of Tiina Niskanen (Google+ post 29.4.2013)
CircleCount: Profile of Tiina Niskanen
Google+: Tiina Niskanen
Google+: Post 19.4.2013 by Tiina Niskanen
Google+: Post 16.4.2013 by Tiina Niskanen
On Second Thought: How Did I Get 3 Google+ Pages In Finnish Top 10?
SlideShare: Career Services and Social Media by Tiina Niskanen 4.6.2013 (slide 17)
Wojdylo Finance: Living with the New Google+ Suggested User List by Eli Fennell 17.4.2013


Edit 23.7.2013: Statistics on Google url shortener

Content CC BY Tiina M Niskanen

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